Far-Right Republicans Attempt to Reach Government Funding Deal Amidst Criticism

Mason Riverwind

Updated Tuesday, September 19, 2023 at 3:17 AM CDT

Far-Right Republicans Attempt to Reach Government Funding Deal Amidst Criticism

Far-right Republicans are making efforts to reach a government funding deal with center-right lawmakers in order to prevent a potential shutdown on September 30. However, the bill released by House Republicans is at risk of falling apart as several ultraconservative lawmakers have criticized it as too weak.

Rep. Steve Womack, a member of the Appropriations Committee, has stated that the bill does not currently have enough votes to pass in the House of Representatives. Mainstream Republicans have observed the far-right Freedom Caucus repeatedly obstructing compromises to keep the government funded and functioning.

The deal was negotiated by Freedom Caucus leaders including Rep. Scott Perry, Rep. Chip Roy, and Rep. Byron Donalds, as well as Main Street Caucus leaders Rep. Dusty Johnson and Rep. Stephanie Bice. The proposed deal would fund the government until October 31 and include an 8% cut to domestic programs, with exceptions for the Pentagon and veterans, along with restrictive immigration policies.

However, even if the bill were to pass the House, it would not succeed in the Democratic-led Senate, according to Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Several right-wing members, including Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz, Dan Bishop, and Eli Crane, have already stated that they will reject the deal.

Freedom Caucus leaders are frustrated with members who refuse to accept compromises to secure the votes. The bill has been criticized as resembling a "Freedom Caucus wish list" and has been described as "slapdash and reckless" by Schumer. Rep. Chip Roy has criticized fellow Republicans for using rhetoric to hide behind on the bill, while Rep. Byron Donalds has asked his colleagues for their plan or strategy if they disagree with the bill.

GOP moderates have urged the Freedom Caucus and hard-right members to propose viable alternatives and not let perfection be the enemy of progress. Rep. Charlie Dent recalled how some politicians would vote against a bill because of what's not in it, but when negotiating the bill, their politics become situational.

The bill has divided Republicans, with some like Roy and Donalds taking the lead on negotiations and others remaining steadfast in their opposition. Donalds even engaged in an online spat with Rep. Matt Gaetz over the bill and defunding the Department of Justice.

Rep. Scott Perry stated that it is the whip's job to count the votes, and members deliver their own votes. Majority Whip Tom Emmer will whip votes on the bill, considering it a work in progress. House Rules Committee Chair Tom Cole has the votes to approve the bill in committee but is uncertain about its progress in the full House.

Senior Republicans are concerned about the possibility of a government shutdown if the bill is not passed. Speaker Kevin McCarthy is trying to prevent a government shutdown and is including hardline border security provisions in his plan. McCarthy is even warning that House lawmakers may need to stay in Washington over the weekend.

Passing all of the appropriations bills on Congress' agenda before the deadline is unlikely. McCarthy has pitched a one-month funding bill negotiated between the House Freedom Caucus and the Main Street Caucus. The bill cuts last year's overall spending levels by 1% and slashes other spending by more than 8%.

However, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has called the proposal "slapdash" and "reckless." McCarthy's best hope is to pass a measure to start debate in the Senate. Some Republicans, including Rep. Kevin Hern, are against the latest proposal.

Leadership and conservative factions in the House Republican majority have met behind closed doors to discuss the situation. McCarthy is ready to press towards votes on a continuing resolution and the Defense appropriations bill. Rep. Garrett Graves supports moving forward with the proposed package.

McCarthy warns that a government shutdown is likely to backfire on Republicans politically. He believes that a shutdown gives all power to the administration and weakens arguments on securing the border and removing wokeism from the Department of Defense. However, some Republicans are prepared to endure a prolonged shutdown and criticize the proposed package as insufficient.

Rep. Byron Donalds hears frustration from people critical of the package and is unbothered by the prospect of a shutdown. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce warns that a prolonged shutdown could cause disruptions across the country, while Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says a funding stoppage could cause a loss of momentum in the economy.

In a potential turn of events, McCarthy could potentially turn to House Democrats to pass a stopgap measure if conservative policy wins are stripped out. However, House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries would only support a "clean" funding bill without Republican extras and criticizes the GOP idea of funding a border wall.

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